Smoky Mountain Backpacking
SMOKY MOUNTAIN BACKPACKING PROVIDES
OPPORTUNITY FOR SOLITUDE
Backpacking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park has plenty of perks: magnificent views, fresh air, and the sounds and smells of nature. "In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks." -- John Muir
Research shows that spending time outdoors increases attention spans and creative problem-solving skills by as much as 50 percent. Using hiking as an additional therapy can help people with severe depression feel less hopeless, depressed and suicidal.
A permit and advance reservations are required for all backcountry camping in the park. To obtain a permit, visit smokiespermits.nps.gov. Free park road maps are available in park visitor centers. In other words, don't rely on GPS tracking or you might end up on a dead end road or way off the beaten path.
For questions concerning backpacking trip planning call the Backcountry Information Office at (865) 436-1297.
• Things You Need to Know
• Rules & Regulations
Hiking is a powerful cardio workout that can:
• Lower your risk of heart disease
• Improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels
• Boost bone density, since walking is a weight-bearing exercise
• Build strength in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and the muscles in your hips and lower legs
• Strengthen your core
• Improve balance
• Help control your weight
• Boost your mood. "Research shows that hiking has a positive impact on combating the symptoms of stress and anxiety," says Gregory A. Miller, PhD, president of the American Hiking Society. "Being in nature is ingrained in our DNA, and we sometimes forget that."